There is little question that electoral politics powered the President’s launch last week of a new Administration “junk-fee” campaign. How most of these fees matter to the majority of households fuming as they can’t handle prices at the food store and fuel pump is yet to be seen, but politics is only part of the reason for the CFPB’s high-priority blitz against “surprise” fees. Politics is easily understood, if not practiced to maximum advantage. Regulatory actions founded on moral philosophy are not only a compliance conundrum, but also an intellectual quandary.
Question for today’s class: is it right for Rohit Chopra to set rules regardless of the niceties of the rulemaking process when he believes certain acts or practices violate the natural rights of the U.S. citizenry? This may seem a hyperbolic description of the CFPB’s spate of enforceable pronouncements, but it’s the way I read many of them.
Take for example the latest edict on overdraft fees. As FedFin’s in-depth analysis will detail later today, the CFPB’s circular details a raft of laws and rules governing overdraft fees, going on to say how nice they all were but how little they matter anymore.
Because technological delivery can, the CFPB says, obscure fund availability, the Bureau concludes that fees which comply with every provision of each applicable law and rule are still unfair, deceptive, and/or abusive. Disclosures that comply with every provision in each law and rule also no longer suffice, the Bureau believes, and thus depository institutions have an …